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My husband (53) and our daughter (22) are almost like a couple with me (51) as the 3rd party. All of her life, it has been two against one, and when my mother in law was living (passed 2004) it was three against one. Now, as an adult, my daughter is dependant on us, and primarily her father for support, entertainment and etc. She doesn't have a life and usually tags with us when we go out for entertainment, dinner, camping and etc. She is darling, but, has never had a date. My husband and I can't be a couple. He always invites her to go almost everywhere with us. When I try to explain how this is hurting me, he gets so defensive. He's even come back to me and said "if you didn't want her, you shouldn't have had her" which was so hurtful. She is in our conversations and business. If I say anything at all to her she doesn't like, he defends her and jumps all over me. I make a decent living, making about the same as my husband, so I can be independant. I just don't want to have to give up my home I've worked all my life for but I'm so emotionally drained and feel so neglected. Our daughter relys on her father more than he relys on her.

Has anyone had a problem similar? I've tried marriage counseling - and he just keeps going right back. She won't back off. I feel like I just can't win and don't know what to do to fix it. Any ideas when you've tried everything you can think of?

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6851 posts
LNL, I don't want you to feel alone. Neither do I have a solution for the problem, as I'm still living it. Your story caught my eye because it's nearly identical to mine except I've been living it longer. I'm 69, my wife is 64, and the "kid" is 39 and still living in his childhood room. Actually he left his room once about 8 years ago. He got married, had a kid and his wife send him back home after two years.

Seeing a therapist was never an option for us because I didn't make enough money to pay for that and she refused to get a job because "a mother's place is in the home with her kids." I guess my solution is to live my life as I want, (as best I can) attempt to ignore what I don't like, and make the best of it. I think I just re-wrote the alky's prayer ----

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

My comfort comes from the fact that at my age I'm closer to checking out time than I am to checking in time, or as we used to say in the army, I'm a short timer. As Dilbert told his mother once, I long for the comfort of the grave. Well ----- not quite. My mother lived to 102 and I used to plan on 120 but a few years ago I discovered I inherited my fathers heart attack genes so I don't think that's realistic anymore. When I get together with my old racing partner and we reminisce about our lives, I realize I/we have done some amazing things in our lives. When I'm out with the old guys I hang with now in our rail cars, I feel alive and invigorated. So I'm not looking to take the dirt nap yet.

It began shortly after he was old enough to sit at the dinner table. He is our 2nd son and he's all hers. I learned early on that I dare not interfere in his life in any way. I was a drag racer and his brother who is 4 years older, used to come with me. Most of us "older" guys with real dragsters brought the family along. I raced Shirley Muldowney for many years before she turned pro. Her husband Jack was her car builder and wrench and they always had their son John, who is about the same age as my #1, with them. When #2 was about 5 he wanted to come too. NO WAY!!!! I found I could do nearly anything I wanted with #1 but #2 was "hands off my baby".

When he was in the 5th grade he decided he knew all he needed to know and he stopped doing school work. He spent 2 years in the 5th grade. When his mother asked how he planned to support himself without finishing school his reply was that we had him so it's our duty to support him. To my chagrin, and with her help, he's making that come true.

If someone in the family has an anniversary or birthday or whatever, he rides with us (it would be rude to not take him with us). If the affair is at a restaurant where we have to contribute to the cost, I always have to pay his portion too, because he never has any money.

He works just enough to pay his court mandated child support. If I have the audacity to say anything to him about his situation, she always defends him. From the time he was able to understand English, whenever I asked him anything, she always answered for him or handed him the excuse he was looking for. If I ever attempted to correct him in any way, she came down on me with the wrath of God. Even now, if I mention anything about his situation to her when we're alone, she always has an excuse for him.

I took his brother with me in the rail car recently. I was blindsided when I got home and his mother told me he said something about the "favored son" always getting to go with me. He has never expressed any interest in anything I have ever done, in his whole life. As I stated before I learned long ago that I was not allowed to take him with me. I don't talk to him about things like this because as they say in football, that's "illegal interference" in her/his life. I told her I wasn't about to be emotionally blackmailed by any of that "favored son" c**p. His brother lived here for a couple years a while back. While he was here he paid us what it would have cost him for a room in a rooming house. He bought stuff for daily life like soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper etc. He shovelled snow, raked leaves, painted the house, all without being asked. #2 has never done any of those things and also never buys any supplies he may need, just like a 10 year old. Where's the kleenex? Got any cough syrup, aspirin, bandaids, ma? I told her to remind him about that if he ever came up with that "favored son" c**p again. She might also mention that if we count the rent he has never paid, like his brother did voluntarily, he is now in the hole by about $20,000. We've supported him all his life. His brother was only here for two years during his adult life and he paid his own way while he was here. So who's the "favored son"?

Well as I said, I don't have a solution for you, but I hope it makes you feel a little better knowing you're not alone.
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njoynlife.....thank you so much for your reply. I really enjoyed your sense of humor! I feel so hurt, frustrated and left out. After 25 years of marriage, this situation is worse as she has become an adult. I feel so ganged up on and my feelings don't count. I will be retiring in less than two years now, so, maybe that will be my ticket when I don't have to stay home because of a full time job. I just may go get me a condo as an escape about 150 miles from home along a better area of the eastern seaboard! Then they can be a couple and she can have her daddy all to herself and I won't be the problem maker for either one of them.
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  Sounds as if you are both dealing with a Narcissistic Personality Disordered  spouses and their 'Golden Children'.

 

 Try to learn on the net and get help, but avoid stuff by Sam Vankin. A mega Narcissist posing as an expert.  His PhD is not medical and he is very misleading.  If you chose counseling help, shop around and get someone well qualified. 

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That is totally inappropriate. You need to define your boundaries with your husband and your daughter. She can have one on one with her father but she doesn't need to be tagging along at age 22, she should have her own friends. Take him on a special get a way just for the two of you to rekindle things, then he won't want her to tag along.
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Wow, I thought I was the only one! I was engaged to a man that was so entangled with his kid, that his kid's mother repeatedly cheated on him, felt very insecure, & was a third party! He lived, & moved & has his very being in his kid. What she said was gospel , he allowed her to think for him, she controlled every aspect of his life! It was like she was the husband & he the wife. They were soul mates in every sence of the word. She did not want another woman in his life. In reality , all his emotional & relational needs were met by his kid!! He only wanted another woman in his life to control & have sex with after marriage ! These were the two things he could not do with his kid! All the fights were related to him wanting to pls his kid & totally disregarding my feelings or our plans! He would get very angry when I would point out anything that was very evident! He took over his kid (who was in her 30's, )job, taking care an elderly woman, but had the woman pay his kid! He would not move 1hr away fr his kid, but expected me to leave my state. Oh I could go on & on about this very sick , out of order relationship ,but I will just say, I am so glad I realize what I was up against & called of the wedding ! A man cannot become one flesh with another when he has become one mentally & emotionally with his kid! He even disregarded the word of God, to go along with his kid's opinion , yet he calls himself a Christian ! So sorry u have to deal with this. Seek a counsellor that handles emotional incest! No woman should have to take a back seat to another "lover" in her man's life!
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Emotional incest r very differcult on the child, even into adulthood ! As she had to basically tKe care of her father's emotional needs fr very young , she "accepts" this as normal And feels she has to "protect" him fr anyone that is getting "too close" . Some of the worst problems for the child is anger issues due to the role reversal, the weakness, neediness, clingyness of the father subconsciously cause great disrespect , resentment , an explanable anger evident throughout the child's life ! I learned about emotional while involved with a man I loved very much! But when it became very evident that I have to always go along with his grown kid's decision , opinions, way of life, controlling behavior , disrespectful ways, her feeling & being treated like daddy's 3year old brat, yet she is in her 30's & truly behave like his contentious wife etc. I put off the wedding, hoping he would change with Counselling , but he kept turning things around say I had "problems, that I was #1! Yet as long as there were anything involving her , I was treated like chop liver, in words , attitude & behavior ! The counsellor told him the bond between him & his grown kid was unhealthy, but he explained it away, saying we have always been "really close"! I say to any one that see any kind of emotional with ur future partner, that refuses to accept help, to get the father/daughter relationship healthy & balanced.... I say run & never look back... Because he already have the kind of relationship with his kid as he should have with u, so don't expect any intimate times, just u r his sex partner, but his emotional relationship will always be with his kid. In every other way he is married to his kid, & u will always just be the mistress! So run!!!
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Emotional incest r so covert & destructive, & consistent in it's torture to me , the true wife & mother,it is worst than if my husband was cheating with another woman!! With emotional incest, the "other woman" is ever presence !!! Living in the house with us or she is always around!!! This emotional incest thing is not new. , it 's just now this sick,unhealthy , out of order, nauseating , out of balance , "thorn in the flesh ",etc problem, finally has a name, so it is being talked about more. However , the ones with the problem, hardly ever see that THEY have the problem, but they sure know how to see other parents"being too attached" to their kid!!! My husband who is emotionally incested with our daughter, recognizes this problem , that is actually present in other families, but see himself & our daughter as just being"always really close"! What is a wife & mother to do?
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6851 posts

I have the exact opposite problem and I've not found a solution to it yet. My comfort comes from the fact that I'm old enough that I won't have to live with this for too many more years. At 74, how many more years do I have? Even if I live another 10 years that's nothing compared to the number of years I've already lived with it. My next big life change is dying and I'm almost looking forward to it. While I'm waiting, I'm doing everything I enjoy and t'hell wif em.

My wife puts our 44 year old freeloading son first and I haven't figured out exactly where I fit. She doesn't see that she is doing that and it's futile to mention it. I don't really feel like my house is MY home. He got married at 30 and his wife returned him after 2 years. I didn't know I was supposed to warrantee him. For all practical purposes he never left home and that has cost us our retirement but she's fine with that. He is living in the space I planned on renting out for extra income for our retirement. She had to get a job 10 years ago and I had to get a job too after going on Social Security. When I mention the fact that we will lose our house if/when either one of us stops working she counters with she doesn't want to retire anyway. She seems to choose to ignore that fact that most people cannot work until the day they die.

I expected to be able to resume my marriage to the girl I married after the kids left home but that never happened because we never got to live together by ourselves.

We have a 24 cu. ft. refrigerator which should be large enough for a small family but there is never room for any of my stuff in there so I finally had to buy a dorm size to put in my office for me. When I was Sears getting tires last week we were looking at those beautiful new fangled $3000 ones and I would love to buy one to replace our old one. Then my brain kicked in and said that would be like buying it for a neighbor since I'll never get to use it myself.

Even though we sleep in the same bed, I feel more like I'm the third person in the household. I think Dilbert said it best when describing his life to his mother, "I long for the comfort of the grave".

I don't expect to find an answer to the problem. You see programs like Dr. Phil where he has people with similar problems and they don't accept the fact that they are doing it wrong. There plenty of other stories with similar themes and they don't seem to solve the problem. There have been many comedic TV shows and movies about this but when we watch them and I point out how much what we are watching resembles us she doesn't see it or refuses to admit it.

When he was in the 5th grade he decided he knew all he needed to know and quit studying so he repeated the 5th grade. She told me he told her he didn't need to be able to support himself, that is our job because we had him. He has made that come true and when I mention that to her she says it never happened.

So I'm just putting in my time like a short timer in the army. Even if we were able to fix it, what difference would it make now? We can't get back the years of intimacy and togetherness we lost nor the income we needed to make our retirement comfortable.
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Oh how sad! Life is too precious to waste on someone that broke her vows, by putting another above u ! What ever happened to forsaking all other, she will always put u 1st etc" u need to stop being the victim, take back the reigns As head of the home! U put ur son out! He is taking advantage of u , he knows his mother will continue to enable him in his irresponsible ' selfish ways!! U sir have to set boundaries!! If ur wife leaves with ur son when u put him out. LET HER GO!! Look on the bright side , u wouldn't be supporting ur grown son, u will have some peace of mind , u wouldn't, Have to live in the same house with "the OTHER MAN" in ir wife's life !!!. pls start being proactive, do not be the doormat anymore!!! Respect urself enough & get out! 74 is still young, it's like u have given up on life, & is longing for death ! STOP, today is the 1st day of the rest of ur life! Don't let life happen to u , U HAPPEN to it !!! Be a strong man& take care of ur self, if u don't, nobody else will! U have a lot of good years ahead of u! Ur wife and son is in an emotional incestual relationship. She will not seek help, but that does not mean u have to stay there & put up with it! By doing so , u r playing into this absurd way of life ! Stop waiting for death to take u out of this ! Instead use the precious breath of life u have, & walk out!! Why allow urself to suffer, day in & day out?? Once u do something to show ur disapproval of all this, u will be surprised of how good it will make u feel, that u respected urself enough to do something about this mess , other than let them continue to treat u & use u as a doormat!!! Yes it is terrible how they both treat u, but it is even WORST that U LET THEM treat u this way, by doing nothing about it!!!
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I am just waking up to this very issue with my husband and 24-year old daughter from his first marriage. She just lived with us for two years, hadn't been under his roof except for visitation since she was 7. The first year was okay, but the second one was hell. My husband has been diagnosed with NPD, and this child is the "golden" child of four. Suffice it to say, our marriage was strained to the breaking point. She is the most narcissistic individual I have ever encountered in my entire life, and I'm 60. I have been in this family for close to eighteen years and am in recovery for co-dependency, thank God. The weirdest behaviors ensued here - right down to whispering. If my husband showed any attention toward me, tears streamed, "don't you want to spend any time with me while I"m here", etc., etc. She's a master manipulator (Borderline mother, Narcissistic father - she never stood a chance).  I'm still enraged at what I witnessed and not just a little bit grossed out either. This child was emotionally incested by her borderline mother/best friend her entire life - in fact, she was medically conceived to make the mother happy - "I want a girl" - and then her father too. I don't hold out much chance for an emotionally healthy future for that poor thing at all. My goodness it felt good to just type all this out - it's awful going through it

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My advice- Find a good legal representative, move out, make no contact, take everything you can within your legal rights, run for your life and find some "Safe" people. Remember, you have tried counselling!!!!!Cut all ties - no contact unless they show a genuine change. This is very rare. The power they hold is intoxicating like a drug and will not likely change. This situation is very similar to my family. Unfortunately, there are six children. My sister has the same relationship with my father. She has hoodwinked two siblings who live away and for us remaining three she has made life unbearable. My Mum passed in 2012 and my sister is now in total control. We have walked away. We do not know if our inheritance is secure. However,we now feel very peaceful. So, please, while you still have some hope of receiving assets and saving the rest of your life- Go. I wish you well. I firmly believe you will be compensated . You will find another 'family'.
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Seems like this 24 year old , has an emotional incestual relationship with her father ! Her father was weak, clingy ,needy ,etc & look to her to meet his emotional needs. She was his surrogate spouse which usually happen , but more so with his wife's issues! These kids become very controlling, master manipulators, they act, & react like 3 year old spoiled brats, when they don't get there way, they have a hard time getting along with anyone, esp ones in authority. They have great anger issues , created by the strain they felt as a child , having to fill their father's emotional emptiness ! Sounds like her mother needed her to fill her neediness too. So she most likely will have double the problems of emotionally incested kids! Unless ur husband is willing to seek help for this, u have to kindly , but firmly insist that his kid move out of both of ur home! If he refuse to support u on that , then it's obvious , he chose his kid over u, his wife! Then now that u know who he is bonded to as one, emotionally, THEN u have to leave them in their unhealthy union! Word of caution, do all u can before u ask her to leave, to secure what belong to u! Talk to some lawyers that give free consultation! Divorce, can be rough on the party that did not secure at least some $ to fight for what is hers!! If u can afford it seek consult with a family counsellor that deals with emotional incest! Like have been said, don't take the back seat to anyone in ur husband 'a heart! If u r not #1 in his eyes & heart, then u need to move on with ur life!
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I totally get it. I am so sorry you are going through this, but father daughter relationships can cross a line, even if it's not sexual. If your husband is putting her needs before yours, except in emergencies, of course, then he does not have you in the proper place in his heart.
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You have described my situation with my husband and my daughter very closely. I have given up in ever trying to change it. It has been emotionally devastating to me and resulted in tremendous emotional abuse. Please stay in touch. I have felt so alone in dealing with this.
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